Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Maths and Making a Quilt

My Youngest Daughter is Making a Quilt

We're on holidays and the kids were looking for something to do. My youngest daughter decided to have a go at making a quilt. It was not surpirsing really - sewing is a bit of a family passion - my mum, sister, wife and eldest daughter are all more than competent on a sewing machine. We have several great quilts around the house that are always in demand on winter evenings in Canberra.

So, after a trip with mum to the material shop, Daughter #2 sat down and started to plan out the masterpiece.

"Hey Dad, what's 13 divided by 8?"

And being a good teacher, I answered a question with another question.

"Why do you need to know that?'

"Well, I'm making a pattern that's 10 rows of 8 squares going across. I've got 13 different patterns and I need to know how many of each colour I'm going to need," she replied.

"Right," I said. "And you're thinking that will help you work it out?"

"Yep, because there's going to be 80 squares so if I divide by 8 then I can just move the decimal point over one jump."

Hmm, good strategy but based on faulty reasoning.
And being a good teacher, I let her follow this line of thinking to see where it took her.

It didn't take long.

"Hang on, I think I'm doing it the wrong way round! I need to divide 8, or 80, by 13. So, that's 6 remainder 2. That means I need 6 squares of each pattern but 7 squares of two of the patterns!"

I knew we'd get there in the end.

Here's a patchworking puzzle to try with your kids

Plan out a quilt that is made up of 8x10 squares.

You have 13 different patterns:

3 pink    3 blue   3 green   2 purple   1 brown   1 yellow  

Same colours cannot touch each other.

And if you want to make it harder (impossible?) no row or column can have all 3 pinks, all 3 blues or all 3 greens.


And my daughter's quilt?

It's looking great!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, Fezz. I like how you let her figure it out for herself. We need to give our kids time to fail and recover. Not easy in a jam-packed curriculum.
    Nice photos too.
    Nifty work.


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